As the COVID-19 pandemic forces companies to confront shrinking demand, higher levels of unused inventory, and increased uncertainty, impacted businesses will undoubtedly turn to their suppliers for cost savings while also seeking guarantees of supply assurance. Sales teams, meanwhile, will be under pressure to work collaboratively with customers to address their very real problems while simultaneously protecting their own revenue and margins.
The current environment raises the stakes in customer negotiations and increases the risk that negotiations will become adversarial. So what can sales teams do to lower the temperature?
"Perhaps the most fundamental lesson when negotiating in high-stakes, high-risk ("extreme") situations is that in the very context where one feels the most pressure...to act fact and emphatically to stake out an unwavering negotiating position, it is best to do neither," write Jonathan Hughes, Ben Siddall, and David Chapnick in "'Extreme' Negotiations with Customers," a new article in Velocity, the magazine of the Strategic Account Management Association. "Control and power can most effectively be asserted by slowing down the pace of the negotiation, diligently seeking an unbiased understanding of one's counterparts...and actively leading them into a more collaborative negotiation process."